Know the NHL NHLPA Agreement: New CBA 101


By Joce, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

In light of the NHL and the NHLPA reaching an agreement after almost four months of intense negotiations, putting us through the roller coaster of hell, who really wants to start studying the ins and outs of this new CBA and its intense lingo? The fact alone that hockey is back should, for the most part, be enough to rejoice and celebrate the fact that we’ll see our favourite team, our idols on the ice once again. Fans can’t wait to call for Marc Bergevin to make moves, for Michel Therrien to get fired, for Gomez, Kaberle and Bourque to be crucified as they’re tired of doing that with… the Bulldogs!


PENTICTON, BC. — For all of the above mentioned reasons, I’ve decided to offer you a bare bone version of the newly agreed upon CBA, which should prevent us from looking too ignorant when confronted by one of those twitter know-it-alls, or a pseudo-expert on a fan forum. It will provide you with the basic information needed to look like an expert… when talking to someone who has even less interest than you in those issues. Heck, you just want to watch the games! Take it for what it’s meant to be: the bible of the CBA references.

Fans can refer the term of the new CBA as the Bettman prevention clause, since this one could prevent a lockout for 10 long years. There is an out however: If either side misses fighting over who is the richest of them all, the owners or the players can restart this process after 8 years.

Salary Cap
This year’s cap sits at $70.2 million. It will however go down to a ceiling of $64.3 million for the 2013-2014 season. The floor next year will be $44 million, leaving $20.3 million gap in between, which is hopefully enough to allow 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara to walk in the room and for other highly raised contracts to fit in as well. Owners will however have an outdoor to unload the crappy contracts they’ve given, but we’ll get to that further down.

Revenue sharing
It took the holiday season, while everyone is still stuffed from all the eating, to come up with a consensus on the size of the pie and how it should be split. While the players’ share was 57 percent under the old agreement, they will now have to share the pie with the owners equally at 50-50. But because the NHLPA has to feed 700 players to the NHL’s 30 owners with the same portion of the pie, the NHL will donate $300 million as a ‘make-whole’ food bank over the term of the CBA to ensure no one goes hungry. Also, as some owners have bigger appetite than others, they will share among themselves a total of $200 million as we wouldn’t want anyone to starve. Just goes to show that the holiday spirit brings out the best in people!

Maximum length of contracts
The owners wanted to limit the length of the players’ contracts to five years and Bill Daly had said that this was the hill the owners would die on. Here’s hoping that some survived in order to pay the new contracts which will be limited to seven years, eight years for unrestricted free agents choosing to re-sign with their existing team. In the meantime, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have a big grin on their face.

Variance in contract
To prevent NHL GMs from thinking everyone but them is stupid, the new CBA has set some limits on variance within a contract. Therefore, the difference between two consecutive years of a contract cannot be more than 35 percent of the previous amount. Also, the variance of any year in the contract must be within 50 percent of the highest year of the said contract. You didn’t get that? That’s okay, we’ll wait for the GMs to find yet another loophole so they can shoot themselves in the foot again.

Minimum wage
In order to keep up with the Fast Food industry, the minimum wage of an NHL player will be at $550,000 in 2013-2014 and to keep up with the cost of living, it will climb $25,000 per year only to reach $750,000 by the end of this new CBA. There is now a clause stating that a player making more than $375,000 over the minimum wage will see the difference count against his NHL’s cap hit. This means that if a player making $4 million in 2013-14 is sent to the AHL, $3.45 million would count on the NHL team’s salary cap. Otherwise known as the Wade Redden and Sheldon Souray rule.

Players’ pension
Because players feel like they shouldn’t have to be working once their NHL career is over, no matter how long they play, there had to be provisions for a pension plan ensuring that the poor players who make minimum wage and only playing a few years in the NHL can have their future secured. After all, someone had to be compensated for the uncertainty with the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security pensions.

In a move which indicates that the industry misses GMs like Bob Gainey who will take on your ridiculous contracts, the new CBA will now allow teams to keep some salary cap in the event of a trade, up to 15% of the team’s salary cap. This means, that if the Habs cap was sitting at $65 million, they could keep up to a maximum of $9.75 million in cap when trading players. Tomas Kaberle makes $4.25 million… they could trade him and agree to keep $2 million on their cap while the receiving team would put the other $2.25 million on their own cap hit. Brian Burke will be happy!

Amnesty buyouts
Have you ever signed a player to a contract he doesn’t deserve? Have you ever woken up wishing a genie would come out of a lamp to grant you even one wish? Wait no longer! With the new CBA, each team has the most innovative tool to fix your past issues: the ReddenGomez! You only pay him two-thirds of his salary and it gets rid of the most stubborn stains on your salary cap! But wait, that’s not all… We’ll give you a second ReddenGomez for free! That’s it. Just pay additional two-thirds of his salary and the second ReddenGomez is absolutely free! You can use both in the summer of 2013 and if you don’t, you can use one in the summer of 2014. The ReddenGomez, unique to the new NHL CBA.

Congratulations, you now know more than the average fan about the new NHL CBA. We’ll do that all over again in eight to ten years so until then, enjoy the coolest game on earth! Go Habs Go!

En français: Nouvelle convention LNH, leçon 101

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J.D. Lagrange
J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.

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